Danaher system that good or is it training time?

John specifically goes out of his way to teach moves that he sees work at the highest level in competition. He's literally said that at the beginning of class. 

I’m curious how Fabio Gurgel’s teaching is in comparison. Is he also teaching concepts rather than techniques? Has anyone produced close to the number of world champions as him?  

Its a combo of both. Its one thing to be able to train 8hrs a day, but if you aren't doing it efficiently you won't maximize your time. Danaher is a stickler on certain detail and it s hows. I've revamped how I teach to be even more anal on certain details w people instead of just letting them fill in the gaps later and holy crap its really helped to jump start a lot of them. Having a proper teaching methodology is what makes a curriculum really shine and he helps to illustrate that.

I think john tries to inject efficiency into training time. 

The systems approach is one of the things that makes Danahers training effective. In my opinion having a system of how to use Jiujitsu is one of the reasons for success for American based instructors such as Eddie bravo , Lloyd Irvin and Danaher. 

The original Japanese methodology was to learn all the techniques on the curriculum in a precise way and then zero in on the techniques that best suit your body type. 

The next evolution was the Brazilians who got rid of a lot of the formalities of training and curriculum in favour of experimenting in training and finding out what works through trial and error. 

The Danaher / systems era is where we know exactly which techniques are the most likely to work and there is an exact gameplan based around exactly how you will set up and use that technique. I.e. You do x and your opponent responds with Y so you do xyz. 

Some will say that this is the way that bjj or Judo has always been taught but in my experience it's usually been a case of either here are all the throws you need to know or here are some cool moves to practice then let's roll. 

I would also tend to disagree that Danaher teaches concepts rather than techniques. I think he teaches a very specific gameplan/system of techniques but also teaches concepts to illustrate why that particular technique works and also to help students remember why to use it. 

Hey Beer Man - 
Mike Wazowski -

I’m a black belt with 20 years in the game.  

My career is that of a systems engineer.  20+ years doing that.  

Danahers approach is not different to successful or effective outcomes in the general sense..  It’s just different in BJJ.  He’s combined the two worlds.

This is what I was going to say.  I was with Shawn Williams until purple and he spoke with reverence about Danaher’s systematic approach everything. Shawn is an amazing teacher and I’m sure being Danager’s main teaching and training partner helped shape his attention to detail. He teaches concepts and a collection of techniques. I’m sure Danaher is somewhere on the spectrum which is why he is both able to breakdown complicated systems into simple flow charts AND wears rash guards to weddings. 


Shawn Williams is awesome and he's a big reason you can tell how long Danaher's system has been around. Even back on the 2009 ADCC DVD set he was calling Rafa Mendes' brabo choke an inverted kata gatame and his anaconda choke a front kata gatame. I thinm he called Braulio's invertd triangle a yoko sankaku, and name dropped Danaher's training methodology during the commentary.

On Danaher's front headlock dvd those are the names he uses for those positions. On the bonus ADCC disc Shawn Williams shows some techniques and he shows the new school heel hook finish where you don't twist at all and he credits Danaher with it.

I believe Danaher just wasn't interested in coaching outside of MMA until 2014/2015.

@DennisKelly I agree about concepts/techniques. I think Danaher's sets do have concepts for sure but most of them are straight up techniques being displayed but just in a super orderly fashion. He's just long-winded and the material is lengthy but I don't think it's overly conceptual either.

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.

Calhoon - 

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.


Nailed it.

He has an approach of starting at the end and getting you to work towards that position. He says all the time that "If you have confidence that you'll finish your best submissions every time you get to it, then you'll find a way to get to it."

I like that he puts as much detail into submission holds as anything else. Many teachers show a lot of details for sweeps, passes, or transitions, and then when they get to the submission they just show 1 or maybe 2 little details. It's clear Danaher has spent tons of time working on every little aspect of the most effective submissions. His entire no-gi approach is focused around getting to just a few key positions but being able to chain them and bounce between them: mata leao, heel hook, Kimura, guillotine, D'Arce, anaconda, triangle, and armbar.

mata_leaos -
Calhoon - 

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.


Nailed it.

He has an approach of starting at the end and getting you to work towards that position. He says all the time that "If you have confidence that you'll finish your best submissions every time you get to it, then you'll find a way to get to it."

I like that he puts as much detail into submission holds as anything else. Many teachers show a lot of details for sweeps, passes, or transitions, and then when they get to the submission they just show 1 or maybe 2 little details. It's clear Danaher has spent tons of time working on every little aspect of the most effective submissions. His entire no-gi approach is focused around getting to just a few key positions but being able to chain them and bounce between them: mata leao, heel hook, Kimura, guillotine, D'Arce, anaconda, triangle, and armbar.

great post.

 

Since buying his dvds Ive added the rear triangle to my game and I love it plus I have tightend up other submissions that I already used. 

 

I am greatly looking forward to when he starts sharing his mma knowledge.

Calhoon - 
mata_leaos -
Calhoon - 

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.


Nailed it.

He has an approach of starting at the end and getting you to work towards that position. He says all the time that "If you have confidence that you'll finish your best submissions every time you get to it, then you'll find a way to get to it."

I like that he puts as much detail into submission holds as anything else. Many teachers show a lot of details for sweeps, passes, or transitions, and then when they get to the submission they just show 1 or maybe 2 little details. It's clear Danaher has spent tons of time working on every little aspect of the most effective submissions. His entire no-gi approach is focused around getting to just a few key positions but being able to chain them and bounce between them: mata leao, heel hook, Kimura, guillotine, D'Arce, anaconda, triangle, and armbar.

great post.

 

Since buying his dvds Ive added the rear triangle to my game and I love it plus I have tightend up other submissions that I already used. 

 

I am greatly looking forward to when he starts sharing his mma knowledge.


Thanks man.

That rear triangle finish has eluded me for years. I get there frequently but usually have to finish the armbar from it because I can rarely get a clean choke with it. I haven't gotten to that disc yet on this new triangle set. But the info he showed on the back attacks set on rear triangles has already made a big difference and I can now finish them cleanly.

As a side note I think it's interesting that Danaher says the rear triangle is the 2nd most powerful triangle and one of the most underrated submissions in both grappling and MMA.

Calhoon -
mata_leaos -
Calhoon - 

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.


Nailed it.

He has an approach of starting at the end and getting you to work towards that position. He says all the time that "If you have confidence that you'll finish your best submissions every time you get to it, then you'll find a way to get to it."

I like that he puts as much detail into submission holds as anything else. Many teachers show a lot of details for sweeps, passes, or transitions, and then when they get to the submission they just show 1 or maybe 2 little details. It's clear Danaher has spent tons of time working on every little aspect of the most effective submissions. His entire no-gi approach is focused around getting to just a few key positions but being able to chain them and bounce between them: mata leao, heel hook, Kimura, guillotine, D'Arce, anaconda, triangle, and armbar.

great post.

 

Since buying his dvds Ive added the rear triangle to my game and I love it plus I have tightend up other submissions that I already used. 

 

I am greatly looking forward to when he starts sharing his mma knowledge.

Yeah me too. I actually spent most of my time with him discussing mma training because that's my main area of interest. He will bring some revolutionary ideas to the world of mma training once he starts releasing videos on it. 

Denis Kelly -
Calhoon -
mata_leaos -
Calhoon - 

There is a lot that I like about the Danaher DVD’s. The main 2 are these:

 

1) He lays out an overall strategy for the position and the details to his strategy gives key concepts to focus on making it a strategy that’s quick to learn and easy to follow in the heat of competition.

 

2) His techniques are a level above what some others teach imo. They are well thought out so as to work against opponents on the highest level. He gives details that make the techniques strong all the way through the application of the technique. It’s those little details that make a big difference imo. 

 

His reputation is not just hype imo or it’s not just “the way he talks makes him sound smarter”. There really is something to the way that he teaches and what he teaches that is high level imo.


Nailed it.

He has an approach of starting at the end and getting you to work towards that position. He says all the time that "If you have confidence that you'll finish your best submissions every time you get to it, then you'll find a way to get to it."

I like that he puts as much detail into submission holds as anything else. Many teachers show a lot of details for sweeps, passes, or transitions, and then when they get to the submission they just show 1 or maybe 2 little details. It's clear Danaher has spent tons of time working on every little aspect of the most effective submissions. His entire no-gi approach is focused around getting to just a few key positions but being able to chain them and bounce between them: mata leao, heel hook, Kimura, guillotine, D'Arce, anaconda, triangle, and armbar.

great post.

 

Since buying his dvds Ive added the rear triangle to my game and I love it plus I have tightend up other submissions that I already used. 

 

I am greatly looking forward to when he starts sharing his mma knowledge.

Yeah me too. I actually spent most of my time with him discussing mma training because that's my main area of interest. He will bring some revolutionary ideas to the world of mma training once he starts releasing videos on it. 

I have no doubt.

 

Can you give a couple of sneak peaks by telling us some of his ideas that you discussed with him?

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.

Denis Kelly - 

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.


Interesting. Normally I'd be skeptical of someone of having very deep knowledge of an activity they haven't pursued but apparently John does. I don't know if he had any formal Judo training but Dave Camarillo said John is one of the best Judo teachers he's seen. And I know fuck all about striking but I think it's cool that you're an experienced striker and think he's got good insights on it.

Denis Kelly -

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.

That’s awesome. I can see what he means and  I want to hear more about his controlled sparring drills. I saw a coach one time that taught progressive sparring where at the most basic level he would teach the techniques such as basic strikes, then defenses, then drill with one guy throwing only the jab while the others just defended, once they got that they moved on to adding a counter, then they would add another strike such as the cross and if the guy threw a jab then he would defend and counter and if the guy threw a cross then he would only defend but now he had to be aware of two strikes, then he would add in a few counters to the cross that he could use, then when the guy was good at defending and countering the jab cross they would move on to a new drill where the experienced leading man would throw the jab or cross then as the student defended and countered he was allowed to defend and counter and the student would have to defend. Then when that became easy another strike is added and so on. It was a great way to teach imo. But I can’t wait to hear more of Danaher’s methods when the DVD’s come out. Thanks for sharing.

FatBuddha - Is the success of Danaher's top guys due to the fact that they're training like pro athletes and literally three to four times more than the next most dedicated competitors? (8 hours a day versus 2 to 3 hours).

You may say, everyone is training that much - but is this really true? Even the next most dedicated competitors usually have full time jobs even if that's teaching jiujitsu. I seriously doubt most competitors AVERAGE more than 2 to 3 hours of their own training time per day.

Anyone remember Lloyd Irvin's guys who he had train like 8 hours a day? Mike Fowler was tapping everyone at blue belt was literally training like 4 times as much as the guys he was facing.

Or is it different with Danaher? Is he doing things objectively different than others and has a ton of techniques and "systems" as he said that no one else is doing?

Are Danaher's guys outworking everyone or do they have a bunch of information advantages?

Iirc, LI was the first one I ever heard talking about a systems approach to training Bjj and was marketing the grappling gameplan around the time Mike Fowler was doing really well in competition. That approach seems to be behind the success of a lot of the folks who got very good very quickly at his place. It seems like Fowler and others might have been training in a way similar to how it sounds like Danahers crew is training. I have never trained with either group, so I could not compare in any detailed way their respective approaches to training. (It would be so interesting to hear about if anyone did have experience in both camps though)

Rhadi Ferguson has talked a lot about this kind of stuff as well. I get the sense, though I might be wrong, that the Mendes bros might be gifted at this kind of approach both as athletes and as Coaches. 

It all looks like it boils down roughly to some simple ideas:

-Organize your game into “high percentage” transitions, positions and finishes. The transitions always seemed to be what Irvin et al highlighted a lot in interviews and articles.

-When you can, make blindspots (effective but overlooked techniques and positions) in the art a well developed part of your game.

-Drill (in specific ways) a ton and spar often in intelligent, goal oriented ways.

-Have specific goals for everything. Your game, the training, competition seasons, strength and conditioning. 

-Understand (or have your coach understand) how to apply the strengths of the athletes game strategically in competition. 

In short, I think they approach Bjj like professional Football, Basketball, Olympic athletes, and other high level athletes and coaches approach their sport. They don’t just train “hard” more than anyone else, they train in relatively organized ways with Coaches who guide the training to make sure they are improving in measurable steps toward specific goals and who make sure they aren’t wasting valuable training time by doing things which don’t directly improve the athletes performance. 

Calhoon -
Denis Kelly -

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.

That’s awesome. I can see what he means and  I want to hear more about his controlled sparring drills. I saw a coach one time that taught progressive sparring where at the most basic level he would teach the techniques such as basic strikes, then defenses, then drill with one guy throwing only the jab while the others just defended, once they got that they moved on to adding a counter, then they would add another strike such as the cross and if the guy threw a jab then he would defend and counter and if the guy threw a cross then he would only defend but now he had to be aware of two strikes, then he would add in a few counters to the cross that he could use, then when the guy was good at defending and countering the jab cross they would move on to a new drill where the experienced leading man would throw the jab or cross then as the student defended and countered he was allowed to defend and counter and the student would have to defend. Then when that became easy another strike is added and so on. It was a great way to teach imo. But I can’t wait to hear more of Danaher’s methods when the DVD’s come out. Thanks for sharing.

Yes that's pretty much exactly what he was suggesting. 

Calhoon -
Denis Kelly -

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.

That’s awesome. I can see what he means and  I want to hear more about his controlled sparring drills. I saw a coach one time that taught progressive sparring where at the most basic level he would teach the techniques such as basic strikes, then defenses, then drill with one guy throwing only the jab while the others just defended, once they got that they moved on to adding a counter, then they would add another strike such as the cross and if the guy threw a jab then he would defend and counter and if the guy threw a cross then he would only defend but now he had to be aware of two strikes, then he would add in a few counters to the cross that he could use, then when the guy was good at defending and countering the jab cross they would move on to a new drill where the experienced leading man would throw the jab or cross then as the student defended and countered he was allowed to defend and counter and the student would have to defend. Then when that became easy another strike is added and so on. It was a great way to teach imo. But I can’t wait to hear more of Danaher’s methods when the DVD’s come out. Thanks for sharing.

soooo......you're basically describing what a good pad holder will usually simulate when working pads?

Denis Kelly -

Well basically he confirmed my suspicion that a lot of the meat-head training commonly found in mma is counter productive, theres a lot of bro science with everyone just copying what they see other trainers doing rather than giving any thought to whether it is actually making any improvement to their fighter.

One very clear example of this is that he doesnt believe in padwork for developing striking skill. People can look impressive on pads but cant transfer it to sparring or fighting. So instead he focuses on very speciifc controlled sparring drills to develop skills. I love padwork, i've spent many years developing and learning my style of holding pads and have done a lot of boxing , striking etc training including training in thailand where its 90% padwork but i've always had the suspicion that padwork is hugely overrated in terms of actually making someone a better fighter.

I agree with you that lots of MMA training is very meat headed oriented

 

I disagree with your statement about padwork being overrated. Obviously you can't just do padwork and get good but I think it has a large part in developing your balance and power in addition to your overall coordination with distancing.

Josh Vogel - 
FatBuddha - Is the success of Danaher's top guys due to the fact that they're training like pro athletes and literally three to four times more than the next most dedicated competitors? (8 hours a day versus 2 to 3 hours).

You may say, everyone is training that much - but is this really true? Even the next most dedicated competitors usually have full time jobs even if that's teaching jiujitsu. I seriously doubt most competitors AVERAGE more than 2 to 3 hours of their own training time per day.

Anyone remember Lloyd Irvin's guys who he had train like 8 hours a day? Mike Fowler was tapping everyone at blue belt was literally training like 4 times as much as the guys he was facing.

Or is it different with Danaher? Is he doing things objectively different than others and has a ton of techniques and "systems" as he said that no one else is doing?

Are Danaher's guys outworking everyone or do they have a bunch of information advantages?

Iirc, LI was the first one I ever heard talking about a systems approach to training Bjj and was marketing the grappling gameplan around the time Mike Fowler was doing really well in competition. That approach seems to be behind the success of a lot of the folks who got very good very quickly at his place. It seems like Fowler and others might have been training in a way similar to how it sounds like Danahers crew is training. I have never trained with either group, so I could not compare in any detailed way their respective approaches to training. (It would be so interesting to hear about if anyone did have experience in both camps though)

Rhadi Ferguson has talked a lot about this kind of stuff as well. I get the sense, though I might be wrong, that the Mendes bros might be gifted at this kind of approach both as athletes and as Coaches. 

It all looks like it boils down roughly to some simple ideas:

-Organize your game into “high percentage” transitions, positions and finishes. The transitions always seemed to be what Irvin et al highlighted a lot in interviews and articles.

-When you can, make blindspots (effective but overlooked techniques and positions) in the art a well developed part of your game.

-Drill (in specific ways) a ton and spar often in intelligent, goal oriented ways.

-Have specific goals for everything. Your game, the training, competition seasons, strength and conditioning. 

-Understand (or have your coach understand) how to apply the strengths of the athletes game strategically in competition. 

In short, I think they approach Bjj like professional Football, Basketball, Olympic athletes, and other high level athletes and coaches approach their sport. They don’t just train “hard” more than anyone else, they train in relatively organized ways with Coaches who guide the training to make sure they are improving in measurable steps toward specific goals and who make sure they aren’t wasting valuable training time by doing things which don’t directly improve the athletes performance. 


great post!